Sunday, February 26, 2012

My OBU Story: Veronica Pistone

Dear Friends, please allow me to introduce myself. 
My name is Veronica Pistone. I am a  May 2011 OBU graduate and current seminarian at Brite Divinity School. After taking time to consider Jacob's invitation to become a contributing editor I have decided to add my voice to Save OBU-- and I’d like to use my first post to tell you why.
OBU represents, for me, maybe the best four years of my life. At OBU I learned to think, I met my best friends, I fell in love with my future husband. It was a place where I blossomed academically and socially-- and regardless of devastating changes which began in my final years there, I still think of it fondly.
I hope that many of you think the same way.
I came to OBU a 17-year-old who knew everything. (Didn’t we all?) I came because I wanted to study religion and the program was incredibly viable academically. I grew up evangelical, I wanted to get far away from my home-- but not too far-- OBU seemed like an ideal choice. Add a little scholarship money and I packed my bags and headed to Shawnee.
Some things I did not know about OBU as a high schooler turned out to be my favorite things. 
1. Small school size meant an incredible faculty who were seriously interested in students. OBU’s best asset is that their world class faculty genuinely means it when they say, “Come by my office.” Where else are there scholars as accomplished who are actually interested in not only my grade in their class, but also what I am learning and how my life philosophy is developing? As a student, I felt sincerely respected and encouraged by all of my professors.

2. Liberal arts curriculum opened my eyes to the possibilities of the world. OBU trained me to believe that this style of education was going to make me fully human, and I still believe it. Some of my favorite memories include my time in Civ-- still the class which stands as the reason I consider myself an educated individual.

3. My final, and maybe most important point-- my bachelor education has well-beyond prepared me for success anywhere in my field. After studying religion at OBU, I was able to skip almost all of the introductory classes at my seminary. Fellow students ask all the time, “Again, where did you go to undergrad?” I was a biblical languages major and left being able to translate on par with (if not better than) many of the doctoral students in my classes.

I don’t say this to say I’m awesome at what I do. I say this because OBU’s program was top notch. I speak of my department because that’s what I know. But I know many others’ stories are the same as mine.
OBU is a treasure. No one would expect an institution quite as beautiful in the middle of nowhere, bible belt. But there is and it’s near and dear to my heart.
Now, there comes a time when places of your past cease to be the same and it’s time to mourn and move on. Possibly that’s what is happening at OBU. But, to me, this feels less like a death and more like a murder. Desiring to be a good alumna, it is my duty to at least mace the killer on the way down if I can do nothing else.
This is important to me because future generations of evangelicals are being robbed of the opportunity to blossom into people whose voice is respected in both the Christian and the academic world. And that is something worth fighting for.
I love OBU. I hope this reminds you of some of the reasons you do too. We cannot let our beloved ship go down without at least bailing water like crazy. In future posts, I will explain further why I think my beloved institution is in danger. But for now, this is who I am and I stand in solidarity with anyone looking to save OBU. I hope you will stand with me.

2010 Walk-- courtesy OBU facebook

1 comment:

  1. Very well written, nicely done piece. I wish your movement success so that others may experience the same education that you did.
    Cheryl Pistone


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